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Study Guide

[LAWS 1000] - Midterm Exam Guide - Ultimate 21 pages long Study Guide!


Department
Law
Course Code
LAWS 1000
Professor
Ozsu Faik
Study Guide
Midterm

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Waterloo
LAWS 1000
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE

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Week 2 – Sept 16th – Lecture
What is law:
- Isn’t a black and white answer
- Has certain properties/characteristics
- Different people have different understandings of law, but there are generally agreed
upon standards
Some properties of law:
1. Law is distinguished by distinct and readily forms
- formal procedures = crucial
- law isn’t law without these formal procedures
- way to distinguish law from non-law
- (owning something = have the proper documentation, meaning authorized by the proper
forces)
- all law is shot through with forms of different, specific kinds (formal title in property
claims)
2. Law demonstrates a commitment to the cultivation and reproduction of a specific
language
- To craft a legal argument/gain respect in a debate = work with a highly distinct set of
terms and definitions
- Law is a language (so is politics, religion, etc.)
- Know the vocabulary/terms to communicate in law
- Law has its own grammar, jargon, expressions, sayings (some in Latin, or Latin roots)
- Languages don’t always make sense – they change over time, evolve
- Millions of people throughout history (jurors, judges, lawyers etc.) have had a hand in
changing/adding to the language of law)
- Mastering law = mastering the language
- Jurisdiction – jus = law, diction = to speak
To have jurisdictional power or authority over a person, matter or dispute = literally to
speak/honour the law
- Arguments can be ascending or descending (always can be reduce to these 2 different
kinds of arguments)
3. Law is informed by specific substantive principles
- One theory: claims you have 8 substantive principles when you boil it all down
- The principles = “the spirit” of law
- The foundational rock bottom ideas/commitments law has in order to be law
- Ex: need to be laws, need a legal system, proper forms and procedures, protocols, no
random arbitrary decisions
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Ex: Need to be public, can’t have secret laws
Ex: Laws can’t contradict themselves, can’t have two opposite laws, one would need to
be eliminated
Ex: Laws need to be enforced/enforceable
4. Law is both general and specific, both universal and particular
- Many legal rules and principals are framed in general terms, applying to everyone (ex:
the formation and revision of contracts)
- Prioritization of universality = necessary to make law mean something, spreads the law
(notionally) across society
- Assure that law is applicable no matter differences in gender, race, religion etc.
- Laws apply the same to everyone
- How universality causes problems = doesn’t always take seriously power dynamics
(ex: sleeping in the streets/stealing is illegal but does it really apply to all of society? Not
quite applicable to the upper class)
- Equal rights = good, but the dominant parties usually win out. (ex: rich can hire the best
lawyers whereas the opposing party may not have the same resources)
- Specificity = Legal rules and principals are typically quite specific (ex: laws applying to
people only found in certain positions ex: in a contract)
5. Law is normative
- A normative statement is an ought/should statement
- You ought to do X, you ought not to do X = normative statement
- Not a descriptive statement, a prescriptive statement
- Sets out a standard or criteria in which you’re expected to behave
- Normative statement = “You ought not cross the street at a crosswalk when the light is
red”
- Descriptive statement = “John is crossing the road when he should not be”
- Prescribe a standard for behaviour
- Opposite of normative statement = a factual/descriptive statement
- Trying to distinguish legal normativity from normativity in general (social norms vs.
legal norms)
6. Law both reflects and constitutes social relations
- Law is a reflection of existing social relations (political, economic, etc.)
- Law is a by-product of social relations?
- Represents social relations in the language of law
- Law isn’t just reflections, has the power to shape/reshape social relations
- Not just reflective, it’s constitutive
- Law is about reshaping, tooling, etc. social relationships
- Law does a lot of work in making society what it is
- Not just reflecting society, also constituting and reconstituting society
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